Toxic Relationships at Work

In addition to my focus on couples, I have done some business consulting and have helped business be more profitable by developing healthier relationships at work.  Researchers have consistently shown that there is a connection between good morale, healthy work relationships and productivity.  However, sometimes, just as in personal relationships, you have to deal with a toxic relationship at work.  I have helped many clients in my private practice deal with people at work who are draining their energy, creating a lot of stress and anxiety and making it difficult to even go to work.  I will be discussing a great example of how I sometimes help clients in this situation in my longer Tuesday article next week.  Here are 3 tips to deal with toxic relationships at work:

1)   Don’t take it personally. People that are toxic to you are usually toxic to others.  You just might be (for some reason) a good target.  Define your own worthiness and don’t let another person’s emotional baggage affect you.  I know this is not that easy to do but if you notice how you are internalizing the other person’s cruelty, passivity, etc.- stop, take a breath and remember that you can practice relaxing even while the other person is doing his or her toxic thing.

2)   Act opposite your reflex. (I will write more about this in the article next week). For example, if you want to run from that person, move towards that person and show some caring interest.  Of course don’t open yourself up to abuse, but throwing the person off like that can actually shift the whole toxic pattern sometimes.

3)   Talk to a few trusted people. If the toxic person is not your boss, talk to your boss and see if you can get some support.  If it is your boss, see if you have trusted co-workers.  Of course good friends and family members can be confidantes with whom you can share your difficulties.  Getting support can often give you the strength to deal with the toxic person.

I know that it can sometimes be more complex and tricky than I outlined above.  I am here to help you get creative with that unhealthy situation so that you can be more creative and happy again at work.  Feel free to comment about a toxic situation at work and how you are dealing with it.

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